Flurry of false positives in NFL causes confusion for a handful of teams


FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2018 file photo, the NFL logo is displayed on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The NFL revealed Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, that several positive COVID-19 tests were found a day earlier by one of its testing partners, and the Chicago Bears said they had nine false positives. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)

(WKRN) – The NFL is investigating an uncharacteristic increase in positive tests from a New Jersey lab that forced multiple teams to alter football activities Sunday.

The league has administered well over 100,000 tests and seen a positivity rate of less than 1%, so a sudden increase in positives was cause for concern. Sunday morning they released a statement.

“​Saturday’s daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey. We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests. Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA’s health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate. The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results.”

The temporary pause in activities gave clubs time to re-test and many confirmed the increase in positives were in fact false positives. The Chicago Bears postponed their practice that morning after receiving nine total positives from players and staff. Later, all nine were confirmed false positives.

In addition to the Bears, upwards of 10-11 clubs were affected. The Steelers had 6 false positives, the Vikings had 12, the Jets saw 10 and Bills starting quarterback Josh Allen was one of a handful of positives in Buffalo whom as a result of the testing, didn’t practice today.

Not every team in the NFL uses this New Jersey lab for testing, but they are looking into the matter to ensure a similar situation doesn’t occur during the season.

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